So, what’s the deal with alcohol and language learning?

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Does alcohol make you a better language learner?

Over 40 years ago, a study in language learning was conducted, that concluded that consuming a mild to moderate amount of alcohol results in better oral production of a foreign language. Although most language schools don’t put this principle into practice in the classroom, people haven’t stopped talking about it since. So, what’s going on here?

Shouldn’t consuming alcohol reduce your ability to perform mental tasks? Won’t it make your language slurred or unintelligible?

The key here is the phrase “mild to moderate.” If you consume enough alcohol to become blackout drunk, chances are you won’t be able to have an in-depth conversation with a language partner. Aside from other health benefits noted from consuming moderate amounts of alcohol, the reduced inhibition should allow you to communicate more clearly.

So will I be able to speak Spanish fluently after a few margaritas at my favorite Knoxville Mexican restaurant?

Consuming alcohol won’t give you any special powers, and you won’t magically be able to communicate in a language you haven’t studied. (Consume enough, and you may believe that you are able to, though). It will simple help you relax enough to use the words and grammar that you recall, without your nervousness or doubts about your own language ability getting in the way.

So what’s the recommended amount?

According to research, 1.5 ounces/44 mL of 45% alcoholic liquor was the optimum amount, consumed on a mostly empty stomach. We’ll let you contemplate exactly what that translates to in your own life, but suffice it to say, a relatively mild-to-moderate amount is best. Overdo it, and your speech skills may deteriorate in any language.

But I don’t drink alcohol because of my religious beliefs or medical conditions.

Whether you are from Knoxville, Dubai or New Delhi, you may find yourself unable to consume alcohol for whatever reason. While that does exclude you from experiencing the benefits of this study, it does not mean you can’t be a successful language learner. The key benefit here results from relaxation and lowered inhibition. Trying other methods of relaxation, like meditation, yoga, or massage may also help to lower your inhibitions as well.

Here at Confidence Learning Services, our courses don’t typically involve a round of beer. But we do focus on giving you the skills and support you need to make you Confident, reduce your inhibitions, and communicate clearly. Are you ready to get started? Contact us today for more information or to start your first course. 1-865-226-9477.

 

Top 10 Reasons to Learn Spanish in 2015

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Top 10 reasons to start learning Spanish in 2015

Is learning another language one of your New Year’s resolutions? Having a tough time deciding between Spanish, French, or Mandarin? Check out Confidence Learning’s top 10 reasons to start learning Spanish in 2015.

1. Connect with Spanish speakers in your community.

In the US, it is possible to maintain almost daily contact with native Spanish speakers in many cities or even in rural areas. This is certainly the case in the many states bordering Mexico, or such states as Florida and New York where many immigrants of Cuban ancestry reside. Even if your home state is not located in one of these areas, there is still a great likelihood of finding Spanish-speakers close to where you live.There are 40 million Spanish speakers in the US, including 80,000 in Nashville and 17,000 in Knoxville.

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2. Communicate with 350 million native Spanish speakers worldwide.

Spanish is spoken by at least an estimated 350 to 400 million people around the world and is currently the 4th most commonly spoken language worldwide. Geographically, a large number of countries have Spanish as a dominant language: Spain, the United States, Venezuela, Argentina, Chile, Equatorial Guinea, the Philippines, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Panama, Colombia, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Knowing Spanish opens the door for you to communicate with 1/3 of a billion speakers worldwide!

3. Learn Spanish to enhance your travel experiences.

Planning to take a trip in 2015? Going on a missions trip or a vacation in Latin America or Spain? Wherever you decide to go, be it to Central America, or to Spain, the mother-country of the Spanish language, knowing the language and culture of the land you visit will give you insights into the people and culture that a non-Spanish speaker would never have access to.

Knowing even a little Spanish ahead of time helps travelers communicate more successfully, especially considering that a great number of Spanish speakers do not know English. Whether giving an address in a taxi, making reservations in a hotel, ordering food or drinks in a restaurant, or meeting the locals at the main hang-out, your travel experience will be smoother, more enjoyable, and more personal when you can communicate.

4. Learn Spanish to improve your knowledge of your own language.

Spanish is from the Romance language family of languages, its roots coming primarily from Latin, the language spoken by the Romans. As you might know, English, too has many words of Latin origin. Because of this, knowing Spanish helps speakers of English (as well as some other European languages) broaden their vocabulary in their native language. Often times, these same Latin roots are at the base of many sophisticated words in English, so Spanish learners can also become more proficient in English.

5. Use Spanish to boost your career.

Know a second language? Great, you’re hired! If you have proven yourself to be a capable employee with just the right job skills AND you speak a foreign language such as Spanish, you are much more likely to land that job of your dreams than if you are monolingual. In fact, many jobs today require a minimum of basic proficiency in another language.

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6. Learn Spanish to prepare for study abroad opportunities.

Various high schools, colleges, and universities offer study abroad opportunities, with different types of programs are available to choose from, varying in time from as little as a week of study to one semester, or even a whole year. Often, as little as one semester or one year of prior language study is all that is needed to qualify to participate in an exchange program.

What could be better than living, breathing, and using your newly acquired language skills than actually putting them to use in one of the many Spanish-speaking countries from around the world? Not only does an exchange program give you the opportunity to use the Spanish you know, but also the opportunity to improve your language abilities on a daily basis. Constant exposure the language and culture of the city in which you study is believed to be the key to true language mastery and helps pave the way to literacy and native speaker like fluency.

7. Get to know – and appreciate – Spanish-speaking cultures.

Not only will Spanish open up access to areas of “high” culture such as art, literature, and history, a knowledge of Spanish can help you understand and appreciate day-to-day culture in the Spanish-speaking world. The ability to read and understand authentic Spanish — whether that be in the newspaper, on television, in magazines, in letters from friends or pen pals, or on the street — truly gives an “insider” view into the language and all of its different shades of meaning.

Learning the Spanish language and culture go hand-in-hand. It may not be impossible to learn Spanish never having experienced the culture first hand, but direct exposure to the culture will give language learners insights into the language that would otherwise not be possible.

8. Build relationships with Spanish.

Language and communication are two sides of the same coin, but what many people don’t realize is that learning a foreign language, although intimidating at times, opens many doors to meeting new and exciting people that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. Getting to know somebody by communicating with them in their own language is a great way to really get to know that person on a much deeper level than only through communicating with gestures or body language. Language study, practice, and exposure to the language are vital to effective and successful communication.

Becoming proficient in Spanish might take a lot of effort, dedication, and time on the part of the learner,but  the rewards can be great. Imagine all of the friends it is possible to make while on vacation, during study abroad, through having a common interest in music, or even while at work. Having lifelong international friends not only opens future travel opportunities but makes you a cultural ambassador both at home and abroad.

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9. Gain access to Spanish art, music, literature and film.

Ever wonder what it would be like to view a film in its original language instead of watching it in a dubbed version? Are you tired of being distracted from enjoying a film by the need to read the film’s subtitles? Have you wondered if the translation of the film is accurate or if you are missing out on the details in the film? Becoming proficient in Spanish would greatly enhance your enjoyment of such Oscar-winning films as Belle epoque (1993), All About My Mother (1999), and The Sea Inside (2004).

Spanish doesn’t just help you enjoy more films, but also gives you a glimpse into the minds and times of the people responsible for some of the greatest literature in the Spanish-speaking world. Who hasn’t heard of Miguel de Cervantes, whose novel, Don Quixote was not only groundbreaking in the 16th century when first published, but continues to fascinate and inspire current audiences?

What about Spanish music and art? Most people would recognize musicians like Gloria Estefan, Shakira, and Pitbull, and Spanish cubist painter Pablo Picasso is known worldwide for his modern-style of art that has influenced the artistic community around the globe. In recent years, film stars from Spain and Latin America such as Penelope Cruz, Antonio Banderas, and Salma Hayak have become recognized not just at home, but in Hollywood as well.

10. Learning Spanish makes acquiring the next foreign language easier.

Studies show that after learning a second language, adding a third language is even easier. Start with Spanish, a relatively easy language to learn for English speakers, before you move on to something like Arabic or Russian. Learning a foreign language develops a whole set of mental, social, and cultural skills and this newfound awareness carries over to other languages when learned. Once Spanish has been learned to a proficient level, when the grammar concepts, vocabulary, and other facets of the language have become fairly automatic, picking up a new language comes almost effortlessly. If you decide to study another Romance language (French, Italian, Portuguese) after adding Spanish, you’ll find it even easier.

Ready to get started? Enroll in a Skype based Spanish course today, and by this time next year you could be chatting with your friends you made on your summer rafting trip to Costa Rica. Contact us today at 1-865-226-9477 to get your completely free, no-commitment Spanish consultation.